#ANPartner Case Study: Stand With Standing Rock raises grassroots donations to power The Resistance

Early in 2016, activists with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota faced what looked like a lonely battle against a multinational corporation’s plan to build a pipeline right through their land. The Dakota Access pipeline was planned to stretch more than 1,100 miles from North Dakota to Illinois, taking a route under Lake Oahe and the Missouri River and threatening the tribe’s sole water source. For this tribe of 10,000, stopping the pipeline was a life-or-death battle, and they needed all the allies and activists they could get.


Recruiting and empowering new activists to amplify the campaign’s petitions, events, and fundraising is a key aspect of successful organizing. It’s essential to enlist activists in your cause, but without intuitive tools that require no training, the barrier for entry for new activists is too high to achieve networked, exponential growth. The Standing Rock Sioux needed to overcome this common organizing pitfall, and they found their answer in the Action Network.

Standing Rock organizers started building power in their tribe and networking with other Native Tribes to build their reach and activist base. Soon, a broader coalition began to form, and Standing Rock organizers began to use Action Network Free, the no-cost version of the toolset for grassroots activists who are just starting out with no email list, few resources, and a desire to expand their organizing to increase their impact. With Action Network Free, Standing Rock had access to a robust set of tools, including fundraising, petitions, events, letter-writing, and more.

Organizers created a fundraising page on StandWithStandingRock.com and embedded an Action Network fundraising widget to raise money for the campaign. They began coordinating events and actions using the tools, and, as the protests gained strength, the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies used Action Network’s distributed events tool in partnership with 350.org, Our Revolution, and other national groups to build larger and larger mobilizations that pushed the issue further into the political debate.

The Standing Rock Sioux’s Action Network Fundraising widget on StandWithStandingRock.net has gathered more than 40,000 individual contributions to date.

“We need mass civil disobedience and a showing of solidarity with Standing Rock,” Kandi Mossett, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes, who lives in North Dakota, told Grist. “The Trump administration is sparking a revolution that makes us stronger than we ever were before.”

Months later, the Standing Rock Sioux have raised millions of dollars in sustaining funds to continue the fight into the Trump era. Thanks in part to intuitive Action Network tools, they built a grassroots fundraising army, engaged email list, and lasting power to rival organizations that have been around for years.

Learn more about becoming an Action Network partner: actionnetwork.org/partnerships

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